Jets rookie Ainge suspended four games for violating steroids policy

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- New York Jets rookie quarterback Erik Ainge was suspended four games by the NFL on Friday for violating the league's policy on steroids and related substances.

Ainge, already on injured reserve and out for the season with a foot injury, is not allowed to be with the team or at its facility during the suspension. He'll be eligible to rejoin the team Dec. 15, following the Jets' game against Buffalo.

"We respect the league's decision and look forward to Erik's return," Jets spokesman Bruce Speight said.

Ainge, a fifth-round pick out of Tennessee, was inactive for the team's first seven games before injuring his right foot.

Jimmy Sexton, Ainge's agent, did not immediately return a message left at his office seeking comment.

Ainge is the second Jets player suspended this season. Running back Jesse Chatman was banned for the first four games without pay for also violating the league's steroids and related-substances policy.

Until Ainge's injury, the Jets were carrying four quarterbacks on their active roster. The nephew of Danny Ainge, the former Boston star and current Celtics president of basketball operations, still may work into the Jets' future plans despite the suspension and being buried on the depth chart behind Brett Favre, Kellen Clemens and Brett Ratliff.

New York liked Ainge's presence in the huddle, passing accuracy and ability to keep mistakes to a minimum. He ranks third in Tennessee history behind Peyton Manning and Casey Clausen with 8,700 yards passing. Ainge also threw for 3,522 yards, 31 touchdowns and just 10 interceptions last season, all while playing with a broken pinkie on his throwing hand.